Architecture, B.Arch.

Program Code: BARCHBARCH

Program Description

The Department of Architecture is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the Bachelor of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The major provides for the education of architects at the professional and pre-professional levels.

"In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees:

  1. the Bachelor of Architecture,
  2. the Master of Architecture, and
  3. the Doctor of Architecture.

A program may be granted a 8-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree."

The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program:

B.Arch. (162 undergraduate credits)

Next accreditation visit for the B.Arch. accredited degree program: 2023 (anticipated)
(Excerpt from NAAB Conditions for Accreditation)

Bachelor of Architecture

The professional program (BARCH) is a five-year curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Architecture degree requiring 162 credits. It prepares those who seek careers as practicing architects. It also provides professional preparation for those who wish to enter related design fields. Graduates of the Bachelor of Architecture program are eligible, after appropriate internship experience, to sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Successful completion of all parts of the Architect Registration Examination is required for registration as an architect. The Bachelor of Architecture curriculum includes coursework in architectural design, history, theory, structural systems, building materials, environmental control systems, visual communications, professional practice, and systems integration. Supporting courses provide students with the flexibility to explore a range of interests, develop concentrations, or pursue minors. An approved semester abroad is also a requirement of the program. All students admitted to the University in the Department of Architecture are enrolled in the five-year professional program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture degree.

Students may elect to leave Penn State after completing the requirements of the four-year (ARCBS) program and receive the Bachelor of Science degree.

What is Architecture?

The study of architecture is a broad endeavor combining the arts and humanities with engineering, science, and technology. It is a global study – from piazzas in Italy to rural contexts to information networks spanning physical and virtual domains. As creative designers, architects reflect the history, philosophy, dreams, habits, and values of a culture through buildings and spaces. Architects create responsible solutions to the needs of clients and the natural circumstances of sites. The profession spans the classical to the cutting-edge, and studying architecture encourages exploration across a range of interests, and provides flexibility to develop academic concentrations or pursue minors. The architecture studio is a laboratory in which design synthesizes history, theory, structural systems, building materials, environmental control systems, visual communications, professional practices, and systems integration.

You Might Like this Program If...

  • You're fascinated by the intersection of spaces, cultures, history, and people
  • You think deeply and love to create
  • You're compelled by art, technology, and the environment
  • You like formulas and experimentation
  • You want to impact society
  • You are self-motivated and enjoy the balance of teamwork and working independently
  • You honor tradition while inventing novel practices
  • You welcome responsibility
  • You think and act with precision
  • You take risks
  • You want to explore, discover, and invent

Entrance Procedures

Students interested in pursuing Architecture (B.ARCH) should follow the appropriate first year, change of major, or transfer application instructions found under Architecture at

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Architecture degree in Architecture a minimum of 162 credits are required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 123

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GA courses.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
AE 210Introduction to Architectural Structural Systems3
AE 2113
AE 421Architectural Structural Systems I3
AE 422Architectural Structural Systems II3
AE 4243
ARCH 121Visual Communications I2
ARCH 122Visual Communications II2
ARCH 131Basic Design Studio I4
ARCH 132Basic Design Studio II4
ARCH 203Materials and Building Construction I3
ARCH 204Materials and Building Construction II3
ARCH 210Ideas Across Time in Architecture and Urbanism Keystone/General Education Course3
ARCH 231Architectural Design I6
ARCH 232Architectural Design II6
ARCH 311WArchitectural and Planning Theories3
ARCH 331Architectural Design III6
ARCH 332Architectural Design IV6
ARCH 4316
ARCH 451Architectural Professional Practice3
ARCH 480Technical Systems Integration3
ARCH 499ARome Study-Architectural Design6
ARCH 499BArchitectural Analysis3
ARCH 499CUrban Studies3
ARCH 491Architectural Design Studio (6 per semester, maximum of 12)6-12
ARTH 201Ancient to Medieval Architecture Keystone/General Education Course3
ARTH 2023
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Architectural Design Studio (6, maximum 12)
Architectural Design Studio
Architectural Design Foreign Study
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits in non-Western traditions in architecture from approved department list3
Select 15 credits in consultation with an academic adviser 115

This category of course work gives students the freedom to explore a range of academic interests, develop concentrations, or pursue minors.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Integrated B.Arch. In Architecture and M.S. in Architecture

Requirements for the Integrated B.Arch. In Architecture and M.S. in Architecture can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Sarah Watson
Stuckeman School Undergraduate Academic Adviser
121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802

Nate Schierman
Stuckeman School Undergraduate Academic Adviser
121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

Architecture, B.Arch. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ARCH 121*2ARCH 122*2
ARCH 131*4ARCH 132*4
ARTH 201 (GA;IL)*†3ARTH 202 (GA;IL)*†3
ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3AE 210*3
General Education Course (GQ - MATH)3General Education Course3
 General Education Course3
 15 18
Second Year
ARCH 203*3AE 422*3
ARCH 210*3ARCH 204*3
ARCH 231*6ARCH 232*6
AE 421*3General Education Course3
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3General Education Course3
 18 18
Third Year
ARCH 311W*3ARCH 332*6
ARCH 380*3ARCH 381*3
ARCH 312 or 317*23ARCH 4803
ARCH 331*6General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 18 16.5
Fourth Year
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3Semester Abroad
ARCH 491*6ARCH 499A*6
General Education Course3ARCH 499B*3
General Education Course3ARCH 499C*3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5Supporting Course for Major (see note)*23
 16.5 15
Fifth Year
ARCH 451*3ARCH 492H*16
ARCH 491*16Supporting Course for Major (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*23Supporting Course for Major (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*23 
 15 12
Total Credits 162

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


Additional Courses for Major (6 credits)
Select 6 credits from: ARCH 491 (6, maximum 12), ARCH 492H(6), or ARCH 499F(6) (Sem: 9-10)


-Select 3 credits in non-Western traditions in architecture from approved department list (Sem: 1-8)
-Select 15 credits in consultation with an academic adviser. This category of course work gives students the freedom to explore a range of academic interests, develop concentrations, or pursue minors (Sem: 3-10)

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL 15/ENGL 30H and CAS 100A/CAS 100B/CAS 100C. Each course is 3 credits.

Program Notes:
The Bachelor of Architecture (BARCH) program, which is a direct admission major, is offered only at the University Park campus.

A ten semester sequence of design studio coursework is the central component of the program and it is this sequence which determines the length of time required to complete the program.  Because each design studio course is offered only once each year, a minimum of five academic years will be required to complete this sequence.

A portfolio review is required for change of major consideration.  Please refer to the Department's Web site for additional information.

Additional Advising Notes:
In order to take A E 210 (Introduction to Architectural Structural Systems), students must be proficient in MATH 22 (College Algebra II and Analytic Geometry) and MATH 26 (Plane Trigonometry).  Satisfactory performance on the mathematics proficiency examination or completion of appropriate mathematics coursework will be necessary in order for students to be able to schedule A E 210 in semester 2 of the recommended academic plan.

ARCH 311W may be taken in either semester 5 or semester 6.  Because this is a writing-intensive course, the Department cannot accommodate all third-year BARCH students in only one semester.  In the opposing semester (5 or 6) students must select 3 credits of non-Western traditions in architecture coursework from ARCH 312 Critical Postcolonial and Contemporary Perspectives in South Asian Architecture (semester 6) or ARCH 317 Theory of Modern Japanese Architecture (semester 5).  Other courses meeting the NAAB requirement for global traditions may be approved by petition.

CAS 100 (Effective Speech) is a particularly useful course for BARCH students and may be scheduled earlier than the sophomore year if students are able to do so.
Although the recommended academic plan lists specific semesters for the General Education coursework, in most instances, students have the flexibility to schedule these courses when it is most convenient for them to do so.  For example, students who wish to take MATH 140 (Calculus with Analytic Geometry I) and MATH 141 (Calculus with Analytic Geometry II) in order to satisfy the General Education quantification (GQ) requirement may choose to take these courses during the first two semesters of the program.

Students must select 15 credits of supporting courses in consultation with their academic adviser.  This category of coursework gives students the freedom to explore a range of interests, develop concentrations, or pursue minors.  Students may schedule these courses when it is most appropriate for them to do so.  Students may wish to begin taking supporting courses earlier in their academic career in order to pursue a concentration or a minor which involves a sequence of coursework. For example, some students may choose to take Italian language courses prior to the semester they will spend in Rome.   For students who do not acquire any background in Italian before going to Rome, an introductory Italian language and culture course is available in Rome.

Career Paths

The B.Arch program prepares those who seek careers as practicing architects. Graduates holding a Bachelor of Architecture first professional degree are eligible, after appropriate internship experience, for admission to professional state licensing examinations, and subsequent registration as architects. The B.Arch program is also a rich passageway to further one's studies at the graduate level in design-related fields. The diversity and broad inquiry integral to architectural studies form a natural path to advanced studies in architecture, landscape architecture, computer science, geography, urban studies, system logistics, art history, and more.



Opportunities for Graduate Studies

While professional practice opportunities are available to Bachelor of Architecture graduates, some B.Arch students may opt to pursue graduate programs in specialized topics or focus areas. Students interested in advanced research will be well-positioned to pursue a Master of Science in Architecture (M.S. in Arch) degree. The Penn State M.S. in Arch program is designed to strengthen the intellectual underpinnings of students' undergraduate work through intensive studio investigations, design applications, and rigorous theoretical inquiry. Alternately, B.Arch students pursue graduate studies in fields spanning sciences, humanities, design, digital technologies, planning, and the arts.


Professional Resources


In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. Penn State's Bachelor of Architecture degree is accredited by The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation.


Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


University Park

121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802